St. Joseph's Indian School

Rating: 2.59 stars   39 reviews

Address:

1301 N. Main St PO Box 89 Chamberlain SD 57325 USA

Mission:

St. Joseph's Indian School partners with Native American children and families to educate for life - mind, body, heart and spirit.

Target demographics:

Native American children and families

Direct beneficiaries per year:

220 Native American children

Geographic areas served:

South Dakota

Programs:

Residential Care including Food and Clothing, Education, Counseling, Medical Care, College Scholarships

Write a Review
Donate
Invite Reviews Share This Nonprofit

More Info

1-800-341-2235
http://www.stjo.org

Promote This Nonprofit

GreatNonprofits badges allow you to raise awareness of your favorite nonprofits on your own web sites!

Review this charity on
GreatNonprofits

Reviews for St. Joseph's Indian School

Role: General Member of the Public
Rating: 1 stars  

6 people found this review helpful

Received a phone call from someone asking for myself and husband by name. He proceeded to thank us for our donation to the St Joseph Indian School. We have never made this donation(he wanted to argue the fact) and he seemed to be asking for additional money. I hope that others aren't being preyed on and duped by this scam.

 
Flag review
(Nonprofit Staff) wrote:

We apologize that there was any confusion. We make thank you calls on a regular basis. We are not calling for more money, we sincerely just want to say thank you to those who support our mission. You can certainly give us a call at 1-800-341-2235 and clear up any confusion. If you did not make the donation and we some how have your number, we can update that we do not call again.

Review from Guidestar
Role: General Member of the Public
Rating: 1 stars  

8 people found this review helpful

I have no problem donating to a charitable need, however when I looked St. Joseph's up I immediately saw that this organization either didn't respond to or outright declined a request from the Better Business Bureau. Why? I'm assuming it's because this charity has something to hide. Perhaps St. Joseph's is proud of the money brought in, but not exactly willing to allow an outside entity to analyze how it's being spent? This is a direct quote from the BBB. "BBB encourages charities to disclose accountability information beyond that typically included in financial statements and government filings in order to demonstrate transparency and strengthen public trust in the charitable sector."

 
Flag review
(Nonprofit Staff) wrote:

Thank you for your comment. St. Joseph’s Indian School is accredited by the Council on Accreditation (COA) regarding our finances. We believe it is a better use of time and resources to submit to a comprehensive review of our organization, rather than the limited assessment provided by the Better Business Bureau. The evaluation with COA includes visits to the school, interviews with staff and families of the children, and evaluates more than just our finances. More information can be found at www.stjo.org/bbb. You may call us at 1-800-341-2235 and we would be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Rating: 1 stars  

11 people found this review helpful

I find it very offensive to name the school St. Joseph's Indian School. If you know your history, you would know why they are referred to as Indians not natives or their tribal names- story of Columbus. Also the fact that it's run by a priests? This sounds like exploitation to me. Columbus and other settlers brought what they felt is the only true religion and forced it on the natives, then took their land, and disregarded their culture. That's a slap in the face of the natives. The catholic priest is exploiting these kids and gaining from their heritage. Please help the native children retain their culture and identity and let's stop giving to these opportunistic organizations.

 
Flag review
(Nonprofit Staff) wrote:

Thank you for your comment. Since 1927, St. Joseph's has served the needs of the Lakota (Sioux) people in South Dakota. The topic of changing the name of our organization has come up in the past. We are grateful to have the input and support of the families and communities we serve in not changing our name at this time. It's also important to know our students are not required to be Catholic to attend. We are blessed to work hand in hand with families who enroll their children at St. Joseph's for a variety of reasons. Additionally, Lakota culture plays a strong role in all aspects of our curriculum with students learning the language, traditions and values of their people from elders and Native American teachers. To learn more about our cultural programs, please visit www.stjo.org/culture.

Rating: 2 stars  

56 people found this review helpful

Like perhaps most of you I'm a generous non-profit supporter who gets St Joseph's Indian School mailings. Check out the CNN report. It tells the complicated story of this school with happy-looking children, generic student pleas for help, and a $30 million fundraising budget. I've chosen not to donate.

http://www.cnn.com/2014/11/17/us/south-dakota-indian-school-fundraising-investigation/

 
Flag review
(Nonprofit Staff) wrote:

Thank you for your comment. In light of the CNN news story about our school, I want you to know that you didn’t make a mistake in supporting our school. Your gifts were used for actual needs and your impact is making a difference! The stories you read in our mailings are true and we are going to keep serving the Lakota (Sioux) children in our care as we have for over 89 years. Please visit www.stjo.org/cnn for clarification about CNN’s visit to our school and key points they didn’t mention. I thank you for your kind understanding as we deal with this poor representation of our school.

Rating: 1 stars  

56 people found this review helpful

I have donated many years to this organization. They keep sending me 'junk' that I don't want/need...stickers, note pads, cards, address labels, dream catchers, etc...a lot of money could be saved if they would stop this practice and instead spend it on the children, etc
Until I see a full financial statement disclosed I am stopping my contributions.

 
Flag review
(Nonprofit Staff) wrote:

We apologize that you do not wish to receive the gifts we send. It is one way of saying thank you to our donors. Anyone may contact us about their mailing preferences and we will honor their wishes. You can review our financial information at www.stjo.org/report.

Review from Guidestar
Role: General Member of the Public
Rating: 1 stars  

89 people found this review helpful

Does this Catholic "non-profit" even need donations???? St. Joseph's has over $122 million in assets! Yet it raises over $50 million per year in donations, but spends less than 60% of funds on services. If 60% ($30 million) is actually spent to support the 200 Native American children at the school, each child's annual support is $150,000!!!

St. Joseph's will not report to Give.org. (Better Business Bureau). I give to reputable charities who disclose their donations and expenses to the public at Give.org, Charity Navigator, or similar outside agencies and where over 80% of funds raised go to actual services.

St. Joseph's spends 30% on fundraising, mailing fat packets to potential donors. Do donors really want $15 million per year (30% of $50 million) to support direct mail companies?! The 2015 packet I received contains a Windcatcher (made in China), 3 Christmas cards, an Advent calendar, Christmas gift tags, Christmas stationery seals, 2016 calendar, personalized Certificate of Appreciation, personalized address labels, large notepad and small notepad. Personally, I'd rather see the money spent on books and educational supplies for the children.

Also, even though 50% of the students are NOT Catholic, the administration acknowledges that " we do make our kids go to mass on Sunday." OUTRAGE! How is this different from the indoctrination of the 1920's, forcing Native American children to learn the "white man's religion?"

Hope more people will investigate before giving.
SEE: http://www.give.org/charity-reviews/national/american-indian/st-josephs-indian-school-and-missions-in-chamberlain-sd-675
SEE: http://www.cnn.com/2014/11/17/us/south-dakota-indian-school-fundraising-investigation/
SEE: http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=content.view&cpid=1209


Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

No

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

A little

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2015

 
Flag review
(Nonprofit Staff) wrote:

St. Joseph’s Indian School is indeed blessed to have had net assets of $153 million as of June 30, 2015. Property, plant, and equipment make up $28 million of that figure and our Annuity Reserve Fund (which is restricted for payments to our charitable gift annuitants) makes up $60 million. Our current assets and investments (less liabilities) are $45 million which will be used to fund future programs at St. Joseph’s, but would also allow us to keep St. Joseph’s operational for two years without our fund raising program. While the argument could be made that $45 million is more than enough for future programs, there’s no guarantee that donors will continue to give to our children and school at the level they have in the past. As a direct mail fund raising program, we know that the number of checks being written is decreasing rapidly, and the U.S. Postal Service is showing signs of insolvency – both very ominous signs for future direct mail efforts. We also do our best to keep costs low. We do have a printing press on our campus and print many of the mailings we send out. Though St. Joseph’s Indian School is affiliated with the Catholic Church through the Priests of the Sacred Heart, we welcome children of all faiths, recognizing the dignity of each human person created in God’s image. Students are not required to be Catholic, and we respect each child’s individual family beliefs. Families record their wishes in their consent packet each year, and the Director of Pastoral Care follows up to confirm those wishes and provide further information when sacramental preparation is requested. St. Joseph’s Indian School is accredited by the Council on Accreditation (COA) regarding our finances. We believe it is a better use of time and resources to submit to a comprehensive review of our organization. Please visit http://www.stjo.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=9199 for more information.

Role: General Member of the Public
Rating: 1 stars  

57 people found this review helpful

I have also done research and am VERY concerned about this organization. I see reviews here that folks who donate say that the school is doing a great job with the kids and to trust them. Fine. But why can they not be open about their finances? What have they to hide?

The simple financial calculations are these: They raise $50 million a year or more per year through their mass mailings. They have 200 kids in their school. At the finest boarding schools in the country tuition tops out in the $40,000 range with all the perks. That means that that they should be able to run this school for $8million. If they spend half of what they receive on mailing materials and postage that would be $25 million to the advertising companies. That the still leaves 17 million per year unaccounted for.

Bottom line: This is clearly a scam.

 
Flag review
(Nonprofit Staff) wrote:

St. Joseph’s Indian School is indeed blessed to have had net assets of $153 million as of June 30, 2015. Property, plant, and equipment make up $28 million of that figure and our Annuity Reserve Fund (which is restricted for payments to our charitable gift annuitants) makes up $60 million. Our current assets and investments (less liabilities) are $45 million which will be used to fund future programs at St. Joseph’s, but would also allow us to keep St. Joseph’s operational for two years without our fund raising program. While the argument could be made that $45 million is more than enough for future programs, there’s no guarantee that donors will continue to give to our children and school at the level they have in the past. As a direct mail fund raising program, we know that the number of checks being written is decreasing rapidly, and the U.S. Postal Service is showing signs of insolvency – both very ominous signs for future direct mail efforts. The average cost is $57,138 per year per child to take care of all individual needs. That breaks down to about $226 per day per child. These costs include the salaries of all the teachers, counselors and support personnel needed to run the school and its programs along with maintenance. We have over 200 students each year, so we need a large staff. St. Joseph's also operates outreach programs on three reservations. We have a shelter for battered women, provide counseling services, run soup kitchens, maintain and run thrift stores and other service programs to help the Native American people. Please call us if you have any questions at 1-800-341-2235.

Role: General Member of the Public
Rating: 1 stars  

49 people found this review helpful

I looked into this charity, saw that there are no ratings from multiple charity rating organizations that I hold in high esteem, so there is no breakdown of their financials (religious organization that doesn't need to disclose this) and how they spend their donations/fund raising. Also found this :

http://www.cnn.com/2014/11/17/us/south-dakota-indian-school-fundraising-investigation/

Make your own decision. Based on all this information, I personally will not donate to them.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

No

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

A little

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2015

 
Flag review
(Nonprofit Staff) wrote:

St. Joseph’s Indian School is accredited by the Council on Accreditation (COA) regarding our finances. We believe it is a better use of time and resources to submit to a comprehensive review of our organization, rather than the limited assessment provided by the Better Business Bureau. The evaluation with COA includes visits to the school, interviews with staff and families of the children, and evaluates more than just our finances. More information can be found at www.stjo.org/bbb. On November 11, 2014 we had an unexpected visit from CNN, the global cable television network based in Atlanta and New York City. A senior producer and senior investigative correspondent for the Anderson Cooper 360 program were in Chamberlain to write a report on our most recent fundraising appeal to support our mission of serving Lakota children. We are always happy to share our work and our mission. We are proud to carry on St. Joseph’s mission, which is made possible through your generous gifts. As we do with all our visitors, we gave them a tour of our campus homes; the Akta Lakota Museum and Cultural Center; and the recreation center. They had a real opportunity to see the children and many of the programs available to them because of our donors support. Much to our disappointment, CNN showed little interest in the Lakota students and were generally dismissive of the programs and services we provide to help them. They clearly had another agenda: to gather negative information for a story they had already written and to place our faith-based organization in the worst possible light. We want you to know the facts and assure you that our mission to serve is unwavering despite this negative story. We want you to know that your decision to support St. Joseph’s Indian School demonstrates sound judgment regardless of how CNN has tried to portray us. To set the record straight, we took it upon ourselves to fact check the CNN story. Here is what we found:  CNN: “Stories of fake students. Josh Little Bear is not a true person.” FALSE: The stories we share in our mailings are based on real situations. However, in order to protect the privacy of the children, we do not use their real names in our letters to supporters. CNN’s argument rests on saying the stories are made up. We repeatedly explained this to the executive producer, but he refused to listen.  CNN: “On the advice of their attorney, the school refused any further comment.” FALSE: Though we did not consent to an on-camera interview, we did offer, several times, to answer any questions they had in writing. Disappointingly, CNN did not submit such questions. We knew the messages in a taped interview would be taken out of context, exactly as they intentionally did with our mailings.  CNN: “St. Joseph’s Indian school continues to rake in a small fortune in donations.” The onscreen graphic showed $122,185,395. FALSE: This misleading figure shown in the story is the sum of our total assets. This includes a school building for grades 1-8; twenty homes where the children live; the acreage our campus resides on; vehicles; investment funds for our gift annuitants and other items.  CNN: “The fact is that the money is being used for the right reasons. Two hundred Native American children are going to this boarding school, they seem happy, well-fed and housed.” TRUE: CNN got this part of the story correct. And for that we are grateful.

Role: General Member of the Public
Rating: 1 stars  

59 people found this review helpful

I would simply like to ask this question: How much did it cost this organization to send me a donation request that contained ALL of the following items: a pen, notepad, calendar, 3 cellophane-wrapped greeting cards with envelopes, a dream catcher (presumably made in China or Taiwan) with a color-printed legend enclosed, gold embossed self-adhesive personalize address labels, personalized "checks" in specific donation amounts, and a beautifully embossed gold-trimmed certificate of appreciation for my financial support - which I have not yet given???

If that's how this organization spends its public donation money, I'm appalled.

 
Flag review
(Nonprofit Staff) wrote:

The majority of the items we send in the mail are made in the USA. Having items made overseas is an important issue for St. Joseph’s Indian School, and not a decision we take lightly. People often ask why we send mail at all. Direct mail is our primary means of fundraising at this time. To simply stop our mailings would put a halt to our income and, as a result, our ability to care for the Lakota (Sioux) children. We have tried sending mail with and without gift items. Our donations plummeted when we removed gift items. If you wish to not receive those items, you can contact us and we will update that for you. By Phone: 1-800-341-2235 and Email: saintjosephs@stjo.org

Review from Guidestar
Role: General Member of the Public
Rating: 1 stars  

49 people found this review helpful

http://www.cnn.com/2014/11/17/us/south-dakota-indian-school-fundraising-investigation/index.html?hpt=hp_t2

Why is there cash on hand increasing so much? It seems the only money they are spending is on their own salaries. The children in the commercials are actors. They are another company who's primary purpose is to make more money and give themselves bigger salaries. I would not send them a dime.

 
Flag review
(Nonprofit Staff) wrote:

Please visit http://www.stjo.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=11353 to read more about the CNN story. Admission and all services to Native American children and families remains free. We also have outreach programs on several South Dakota Reservations. You can review our financial information at www.stjo.org/report and please feel free to call us at 1-800-341-2235 if you have any questions.